With fall upon us, Halloween is quickly approaching and seemingly influencing every form of entertainment. But here’s a hot take: fall is the coming-of-age season. It’s essentially hot-girl season for those of us with low-grade depression and an obsession with the dark academia aesthetic. For those who like to feel like a woman in her twenties walking to her New York apartment, here are 5 of my favorite podcasts:
Hosted by writer Kelsey Mckinney, Normal Gossip is the podcast of all podcasts that will leave you desperate for a new episode each week. With a different co-host for each episode, Kelsey and her guests navigate the rhetoric surrounding gossip before getting into an anonymous story submitted by “a friend of a friend.” Each story, ranging from obscure gay sports league gossip to sorority drama, is simultaneously entertaining and personal enough to make you feel like it’s coming from a close friend. Normal Gossip manages to recontextualize gossip that makes the listener feel like an intellectual and an essential part of being the protagonist in your own story.
Archetypes is one of the most professional-sounding podcasts with exceptional production value, featuring well-known guests such as Lisa Ling and Mindy Kaling. Hosted by Megan, Duchess of Sussex, the podcast critically analyzes a range of sexist stereotypes that are often intersectionality rooted in issues surrounding race and classism. Featuring an all-female guest list, each episode is told from the perspective of powerful women in society who are often plagued by sexist labels that perpetuate harm. One of my favorite episodes titled “Demystifying the Dragon Lady with Margaret Cho and Lisa Ling” explains the racist undertones of the “Dragon Lady” stereotype which is still quite common in mainstream entertainment. Archetypes allows listeners to immerse themselves in the perspectives of famous women, while still recognizing that these stereotypes impact those of us with a more “low-key” social status.
My Dad Wrote a Porno (Classic)
While this podcast doesn’t necessarily fit the high-brow commentary of pop culture in relation to modern society, it’s too hilarious to not mention. Hosted by Jamie Morton, along with his friends James Cooper and Alice Levine, the podcast features British humor on full display as Jamie reads a chapter of his father’s anonymously written erotica novel each episode. The novel, inaptly named Belinda Blinked, is the epitome of “it’s so bad it’s good.” While this podcast won’t necessarily make you feel like the main character, it’ll cause you to smile in public as if you’re laughing at an inside joke.
This podcast is great for those who like to stay informed without reading or turning on the nightly news. Co-hosted by Sean Rameswaram and Noel King, the podcast is the perfect balance between narrative storytelling and journalistic interviews. A new episode (usually less than 30 minutes) is posted each day with topics ranging from inflation to the Russo-Ukrainian War. Today, Explained successfully incorporates personal interviews that give the listener an immersive experience. Rather than viewing news as depressing or composed solely of bad news, the podcast allows you to choose which topics are most interesting to you. So if you’re on the subway (Unitrans bus) and want to appear deep in thought while still being caught up on current events, Today, Explained is a great option.
The Big Picture
For those who enjoy long podcasts to accompany their day and can still appreciate the movie theater experience (or just like movie theater popcorn), The Big Picture gives excellent insight into the best movies to see, in addition to the creative process involved in filmmaking. Hosted by Sean Fennessy and Amanda Dobbins, each episode is over an hour long and features a wealth of information about the cultural impact of popular films ranging in novelty from Avatar (2009) to The Woman King (2022). The podcast also discusses relevant controversies about popular films, allowing listeners to stay updated on the discourse surrounding popular culture.
Podcasts can be an excellent background to the central plot and climax of your day. Whether you want to learn something new or give off main character energy to the people around you, there’s a podcast to match every vibe.